Bringing life into the world can be done in countless ways. Of course, the most obvious means of achieving this feat is through the propagation of the human race, but when taking into account the creative process, less concrete definitions of “conception” slowly begin to take shape. Take, for instance, the sheet of paper upon which this story is printed. Before Inside Direct Mail, it was clean, void, empty. But from it, a story was born—and from others just like it, the publication you’re now reading (and hopefully, enjoying).
Much like a new parent, the creative professional faces a blank piece of paper with expectation and trepidation of what’s to come once the spark of inspiration strikes. With its most recent lead-generation effort, Corbis, a Seattle–based image licensing company, attempts to encapsulate the feeling of that moment for its audience of design professionals, while putting forth the notion that the company will be there for them should the need for support arise.
Corbis’ ensuing 6˝ x 11˝ self-mailer makes this point with a study of contrasts: The cover of the piece, opposite its address panel, showcases a photo of the Arctic tundra awash in blue-gray flurries of snow and wind as well as the headline: “Is this the most challenging place on the planet?” Its interior, on the other hand, is all but blank. Fittingly, the minimal verbiage that does appear addresses its lack of imagery with a thought-provoking, yet identical, query: “Or is this the most challenging place on the planet?” The rest of the 32 words that make up the whole of the mailing are directional, urging prospects who are “drawing a blank” and “searching for greatness” to “look beyond the obvious” and visit the company’s Web site (Archive code #836-271398-0705).
In keeping with the theme of new life, this package demonstrates a fresh direction for Corbis’ mail program, both creatively and strategically, according to Karla Zimmerman, the firm’s director of regional marketing, Americas. “[It’s] showing more of a partnership with our customers and potential customers in their creative process,” she says.